GOP reduces ad spending in Colorado |

GOP reduces ad spending in Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Is the battle for Colorado cooling off?

Colorado has been bombarded with visits and advertising from the presidential campaigns, and Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama will be here in coming days. But there are signs the fight may be headed elsewhere.

Republicans have slashed television advertising for McCain at the state’s three largest television stations. The GOP has canceled ads for a troubled incumbent congresswoman, and Democrats see such a lead in an open Senate race they are reportedly dropping ads in favor of hotter races in other states.

With early voting under way, McCain’s campaign bought a total $305,550 worth of ads this week at KUSA-TV, KCNC-TV and KMGH-TV , according to records published by several news outlets, including The Denver Post.

That’s down 46 percent from last week and down 56 percent from two weeks ago.

For the final eight days of the campaign, McCain bought a little more than $50,000 of ad time at KCNC-TV and $67,000 at KUSA-TV, which is watched by 40 percent of the Denver market. McCain had not purchased ad time for those days at KMGH-TV as of Wednesday.

Obama is spending almost seven times what McCain is at those stations in the final days, The Post reported.

National Republicans canceled $600,000 worth of television ads for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a conservative three-term incumbent in northern and eastern Colorado’s 4th District who faces a tough challenge from Democrat Betsy Markey.

A regional spokesman for McCain, Tom Kise, told The Post that the McCain campaign will remain on Colorado airwaves through Election Day.

In the Senate race between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall, outside expenditure groups backing Schaffer acknowledged this week they have pulled television advertising in favor of hotter contests elsewhere. Polls have consistently shown Udall with a comfortable lead over Schaffer.

The Post reported Thursday that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was so comfortable Udall will win that the group directed spending elsewhere. The committee didn’t immediately confirm its plans when called by The Associated Press.

Freedom’s Watch, a conservative group that has targeted Udall, aired its last television ad Oct. 15 and has no immediate plans to buy more, said spokesman Tim Pearson.

Pearson said Freedom’s Watch spent more than $2 million on television advertising in the Udall-Schaffer race but that “there are other places we are spending money at the moment.” He insisted the Colorado Senate race is still competitive.

McCain headlines rallies in Denver and Durango Friday, and Obama visits Denver Sunday. GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin made three stops in Colorado this week, followed by a two-day tour by Obama running mate Joe Biden.

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